Food Accolades in Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa has long established itself as Orange County’s home of innovative culinary arts, earning a finalist position in the “Best in Food” category of the Rand McNally/USA Today competition as early as 2011. Add to that a growing community of creative chefs – two “Top Chef” competitors among them – and you have Orange County's premier dining destination:
- Chef Carlos Salgado's Taco Maria was named the Los Angeles Times' 2018 Best Restaurant of the Year by acclaimed food critic Jonathan Gold.
- Bravo’s "Top Chef" Season 13 runner up Amar Santana owns and operates Vaca, a Spanish-inspired Costa Mesa restaurant.
- "Top Chef: All-Stars" winner Richard Blais opens The Crack Shack in Costa Mesa.
- Foodbeast.com featured The Crack Shack in Costa Mesa in its FOODBEAST Approved video series.
- Food and Wine Magazine listed Taco Maria Chef Carlos Salgado as one of the 10 Best Mexican Chefs in the U.S., and Visit California listed the restaurant as one of the "10 Life Changing Meals to Add to Your California Bucklist."
- Executive Chef Carlos Salgado of the Costa Mesa restaurant Taco Maria is a two-time James Beard Award nominee.
- Food and Wine Magazine listed The Crack Shack on its list of the "Best Fried Chicken in the U.S."
- The Los Angeles Times "101 Best Restaurants" list by food critic Jonathan Gold included Taco Maria, Kogi BBQ and Marche Moderne
- Costa Mesa was ranked as a "Best in Food" finalist in the USA Today/Rand McNally "Best of the Road" competition.
- Gayot.com named Din Tai Fung at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza as one of America’s Best Restaurants.
- The American Economic Institute recognized Taco Maria with its 2018 Excellence Award.
- Hana re Sushi chef Atsushi Yokoyama was recognized as 2016 Chef of the Year by The Orange County Register and food critic Brad Johnson.
- Three Costa Mesa restaurants were named to The Orange County Register’s list of 12 unforgettable foods in 2017: Taco Maria, Vaca and 2145 Pizza.
Travel + Leisure listed Costa Mesa's The Straw on its list of the best milkshakes in the U.S.
- Thrillist Los Angeles named Arc, Social, Pie-Not, Old Vine Café, Taco Maria, Anjin and Sidecar Doughnuts to their "Best Restaurants in 15 Orange County Cities"
- Costa Mesa restaurants Taco Maria, Arc, Vaca and Hana Re are ranked the top four on The Orange County Register’s 2017 Top 75 Restaurants in Orange County selected by food critic Brad Johnson.
- Five of the top 10 ramen noodle houses in Orange County are in Costa Mesa, according to The Orange County Register.
- Travel + Leisure's "Around the Country in 34 Dishes" includes Taco Maria’s Heirloom-blue-corn tortilla tacos.